by Kathleen Costa
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win either an ebook or print copy of Double, Double, Toil and Truffle, and a link to purchase it from Amazon.
Proper English Tea, Treats, and Murder!
Gemma Rose returned to her home of Meadowford-on-Smythe, just outside of Oxford, to fulfill her dream of opening a proper English tearoom serving proper English tea and proper English scones and offering a proper English experience. She opened the Little Stables Tearoom with her BFF and baker extraordinaire Cassie Jenkins…and that’s where the dream began. However, a few nightmares have popped up starting with a dead tourist found on her outdoor patio with a scone stuffed in his mouth. Disturbing to say the least to a budding business, but uncovering the motive, opportunity, means, and surprising culprit added to her skill as a proper English sleuth. Since that first unfortunate, yet karmic, incident, Gemma has trouble avoiding murderous incidents to the chagrin of her not-without-conflicts boyfriend Detective Devlin O’Connor. Although she can often rely on his help, she is greatly supported by a quartet of octogenarians, dubbed “The Four Biddies,” who as unofficial “partners” have oddly come in handy. Her mother and father are both supportive of their daughter’s business and relationship with the detective, but are challenged by some of her predicaments. However, her mother can be a challenge, too, often leaving Gemma with her only choice: love her and ignore the rest. Did I mention Gemma’s tabby cat Muesli? The perfect example of “cats will be cats!”
The Mousse Wonderful Time of the Year earns 5+/5 Mince Pies…Proper English Fun!
The prodigal son returns! Gemma’s first introduction to the handsome stranger was awkward, but fortunately his escalating advances were curtailed by an important phone call he couldn’t decline. Later, Gemma’s mother pressured her to agree to last minute catering for her friend Annabel Floyd, daughter of Sir Hugh Morecombe, whose Sinterklaas Foundation is having a Christmas tea party for underprivileged children at her family’s estate, Thurlby Hall. During the opening introductions at the event, surrounded by children enjoying the festivities, Gemma is shocked to discover the stranger is the long-lost son of Sir Hugh Morecombe. Ned Morecombe left the family decades ago, and his return is an unwelcome surprise to those vying to be prominently mentioned in Sir Hugh’s will; a will that may be rewritten now that Ned is back. But a massive storm hits, Gemma is stranded at the Hall, and a dead body in the library puts her right in the middle of another murder. Her reputation precedes her, so she is asked to gather details and clues until the police can arrive; Ned’s past indiscretions and other well kept family secrets are exposed. The detective-in-charge is accusing Gemma of all sorts of interference along with murder itself, but everyone has a motive! All this, and Christmas lunch at the Rose family’s home with some American cousins as guests. This holiday will be hard to forget!
Holidays…Hanna-style! H.Y. Hanna has thrilled me once again with this tenth book…the perfect holiday cozy! The well-written drama put the spotlight on “Me, too” issues, and fortunately karma was judge, jury, and executioner! My Sherlock was delightfully overwhelmed with all the serious suspects with motives bouncing me from extremely poor behavior to family disfunction to just plain greed. The final solution was a blip on my radar, but dismissed quickly due to the well-devised misdirection that sent me off on an engaging journey with Gemma’s realistic methods of gathering clues, informal interrogation, covert spying, and revealing the solution in her best Miss Marple manner. And the “Four Biddies” are so entertaining getting Gemma and themselves once again into plenty of “sticky” situations.
Family is always prominent in the cozy genre, and H.Y. Hanna has created a marvelous group that lifts, inspires, and challenges. I drooled, laughed, and cringed during the proper English Christmas lunch with Gemma’s family, her inebriated Uncle Ronnie, and what I saw as nicely depicted American cousins. And although the celebration was plagued with uninvited guests, an embarrassed turkey, dessert accidents, and a stand-off with Muesli, the Epilogue brought “Peace on Earth.”
Don’t be challenged by English spellings, vocabulary, and phrases. H.Y. Hanna includes a Glossary of British Terms to make you an honorary member of the Oxford Tearoom family!Bonus! Growing up my mother made delicious pies at Christmas. For my dad it was always a mincemeat pie, but only for him because us kids wouldn’t eat it. We always got the apple, or better yet, cherry pie for our holiday dessert. But, maturing as I have and becoming a big fan of other childhood yucks like Brussel sprouts, broccoli, and soft-boiled eggs, I have also grown to enjoy mincemeat pies. I am thrilled H.Y. Hanna included a proper Christmas Mince Pie recipe in her book. With directions for homemade mincemeat flavored with your favorite brandy, she offers two pie crust recipe choices: Traditional Shortcrust Pastry and an Easy-Peasy Pie Crust. Enjoy the Chapter 20 scene with Gemma and her mother making “…a recipe your grandmother used to make…” Either way you are in for a proper Christmas treat worthy of being a family tradition!
Audible — Oxford Tearoom Mystery series “Great news for audio fans! We’ve just completed production on The Mousse Wonderful Time of the Year (Oxford Tearoom Mystery #10) and it’s been submitted to Audible… fingers crossed they’ll approve it quickly for sale, in time for Christmas!“
Be a Big H.Y. Hanna Fan!
USA Today bestselling author H.Y. Hanna is the author of my all-time favorite series the now ten-book Oxford Tearoom Mystery always adding a little treat for me to bring the Tearoom into my home. My “tie for first” favorite, the six-book Bewitched by Chocolate series, sprinkles a bit of magic to the delectable descriptions of all kinds of chocolate. I am very partial to the marvelously entertaining three-book English Cottage Garden Mystery planting humor along with clever mysteries; book four Trowel and Error is set to release in April, 2020. Each book has engaging storylines with well-developed characters I so enjoy visiting. All of her series are in print, eBook, but audio format that gives readers a little extra. They have the delightful voice artistry of narrator Pearl Hewitt who enriches the already engaging story with varied accents, dialects, emotions, and tone. I always say “murder is better with an English accent.”
To enter to win an ebook or print copy of The Mousse Wonderful Time of the Year, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “mousse,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen December 21, 2019. U.S. residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. You can read our privacy statement here if you like. MAKE SURE TO STATE IF YOU WANT PRINT OR EBOOK.
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